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POST GAME QUOTES: Temple 69, Houston 66

Feb. 21, 2016

HOUSTON HEAD COACH KELVIN SAMPSON
Opening Statement
“Temple showed you why they are the best team in our league. When we scouted and prepared for them we didn’t really see them do anything great. We watched them beat UConn twice. UConn was up by 12 with five minutes to go and you say ‘how did Temple win that game?’ Tulsa was up 13 with six minutes to go. They make timely three’s and they don’t beat themselves. They don’t turn the ball over, they make their free throws, and they are just very solid. The first time we beat them that is what we did, we beat them. They didn’t have a chance in that game, we just beat them. Tonight, it was just two good teams. They came out and staggered us early. During the timeouts it felt like we were in a hurry, it’s ok to play fast, but don’t be in a hurry. But, we got settled down and got the ball moving a little bit.

We cut it to five at halftime. The ball really moved well in the first 10 minutes. We were down five and went up 10, we were up 15 in 10 minutes, but they made a three there and then another kid drove across the lane and made a shot. I don’t mean to say that those were lucky shots that is the way Temple plays. They make plays and do whatever it takes. They are a good team. They took advantage of some matchups. (Damyean) Dotson did a great job on Decosey, he was a really hard to cover. The only guy that hurt us was the (Obi) Enechionyia kid. He made some tough three;s; he made a couple of them from 3-4 feet behind the line. He got out and contested them, but he made them. That is what they do, that is how they beat UConn and Cincinnati twice. It was almost a carbon copy, that game was almost a carbon copy of how they won all those games. Give them (Temple) credit.

I was proud of our kid’s effort and the way we came back and battled. I wouldn’t have expect anything less. They didn’t hurt or beat themselves. We had a couple turnovers down the stretch, but you have to get the ball to the rim. You have to give the referee a chance to blow the whistle that is why we play a certain way sometimes. We have to get the ball to the pain, drive it, and get to the free throw line. Devonta went to the free throw line 11 times, Rob went six times, but we needed to go a few more times.”


 

 

On Obi Enechionyia
 “That’s how they beat SMU. The same kid (Obi Enchionyia) was 7-for-7 against SMU when they beat them. He’s a good shooter. They don’t have anyone who can’t make a three. Most of their players are Philly kids who have a lot of savvy, their older and been together for a long time. (Quenton) Decosey, (Josh) Brown and (Devin) Coleman are a solid team. I was proud of my team. It’s a game I felt like we could win, and played good enough to win, but they made the plays down the stretch and we didn’t, it’s as simple as that.”

 

On Rob’s last three-point attempt
“If I would have called a timeout he still wouldn’t have gotten a better shot. You can’t get a better shot than that. I’m almost glad I didn’t have a timeout left, because that would have allowed him to get set. If you are going to look for a three you better get one in transition when they don’t have a chance to switch. What would happened is he would substitute his bigs out and put his littles in knowing we had to take a three. Rob got a clean look. I couldn’t have asked for a better look, he just missed it. They (Temple) make their three’s when it counted and we didn’t. That is a good team, but so is Houston.”

On tonight’s loss
 “It’s hard and it’s a tough one to lose, but that’s how Temple beats you. I’m sure that someone was sitting in the press conference asking Frank Haith, Kevin Ollie and Larry Brown the same question because all those teams were up. Temple doesn’t beat themselves, they’re very disciplined and tough.  I have a lot of respect for their team, but I have a lot of respect for my team as well. I love my team. There’s not a lot of difference in these two teams, it’s just two good teams, and a good basketball game.”

On the first half of game
“We were trying to force Temple, but they’re a good team. Understand this about basketball, it’s a lot easier to slow a team down than to speed them up. To speed a team up we have to start by getting stops. The first 10 minutes the ball was moving because our defense was outstanding. We were really good defensively. All of our baskets in the first 10 minutes were from transitions, which is really good. The last 10 minutes were at the free throw line and they were scoring. They (Temple) were scoring pretty tough shots. They were making baskets and I’ll give them credit. They were making baskets that counted. We just didn’t make enough baskets down the stretch.”

On the team’s performance at this point
 “Sometimes I say things to remind people we have a good team. This is a good Houston basketball team. I know I wasn’t here a long time ago, but I’ve coached enough good teams to know what one looks like. Are we a complete team? No.  We don’t have a guy like Jaylen Bond, but you look at our one, two, three and fours, we match up with just about anybody in the league. We need a couple more recruiting classes. We have had only had one, not two, one. Don’t count the first one. We had one recruiting class. We’re going to get better as we go. We haven’t played a game yet where we couldn’t have won. There wasn’t one game we didn’t have a chance to win, except the Tulsa game. I take that back. The Tulsa game we weren’t in there.”

On getting the team involved
“Shooting is not an equal opportunity position. You can’t shoot if you don’t get to. Those three guys are our best scorers, just like if you were talking to Temple you would want to know why they had one guy score 26. I’m not worried about that.

Every game is different. Chicken had 20 against LSU. He had a tough match up tonight. It wasn’t an easy game for him, because they’re a really good defensive team. It’s not Galen (Robinson, Jr.) and Ronnie’s (Johnson) job to lead this team. Galen had 5 assists tonight he was up for four of them. All four shots he took, he could make. If I had to drop the perfect night for Galen and or Ronnie I would say, six points, four or five assists. LeRon is not really a scorer, and Bertrand is not really a scorer. I don’t know if I’m too worried about that. It’s a good question though.”

On game against Temple
“We felt like this was a game we needed to play well in. Just like when we beat Tulsa and SMU here, and when we took on LSU, we have to play good. We didn’t play good. It’s not one of our better games, but let’s give Temple some credit, they played good.”

 

HOUSTON JUNIOR GUARD Damyean Dotson
On the changes and adjustments
“We got open shots and knocked them down to start the first 10 minutes of the half. The ball was moving, we were getting good shots and everyone was playing unselfish.”

TEMPLE HEAD COACH FRAN DUNPHY
On second-half comeback
“We were in a little bit of trouble. Their offense was great for the first part of the second half. They scored 28 points in the first nine minutes of the second half, which obviously we didn’t do a very good job of defending, so we go down seven. Then I made a move to go to a zone, and then Dotson stepped up and made a jumper right away, so that obviously didn’t work. After that, our defense really tightened up. We made some great stops. We made some big shots. That’s a terrific win for us, no question about it, given where we were at that late stretch of the game.”

On getting back a win from Houston
“We’re coming down to the last two weeks of the season. Houston is a really good basketball team, and they took it to us when we were at home. We got out of the gate pretty good. We shot it well early. Obi (Enechionyia) made some great shots, including a late three that really helped us as well. You’re just playing basketball at this point. Every possession is critical.”

On Josh Brown’s game
“I was glad to see him at the foul line. We felt pretty good about that because he’s a terrific end-of-game foul shooter. For him to knock those two down was great, and we were fortunate they don’t make a three at the end to tie the score.”

On Devin Coleman’s late three
“That was a big shot at the end. He stepped up and knew what he was doing. He felt confident to take it. I’m very happy for him. That’s a big shot.”

On second-half adjustments
“The first adjustment we made was to go to zone, but that didn’t work for us so we went back to man-to-man and just overplayed their guards even more than we had. (Devonta) Pollard is a tough guard for us, there’s no question, but we can’t allow him to catch the ball as close to the basket as he did a couple of times. So we changed some things there. We switched in on him for a couple of possessions and made him catch the ball further away from the basket. I’ll have to check the film to see how good we were on defense down the stretch. We were pretty good.”

On guarding Houston’s offense
“It’s hard. It’s very hard. They really rush the ball down the floor. That’s why you have to take really good shots because typically, if you don’t, then our floor balance is not nearly where it needs to be, and they run it down and make threes. They finish at the rim. That’s a really good offensive basketball team. They’re a really good defensive team too, but on offense, they scare you.”

On Enechionyia’s game
“Obi (Enechionyia) was terrific. He made some many big shots for us. He got us off to a good start. He tied the game late with a huge three. He’s so important to what we do. He’s changed in his mindset. He’s been really focused over the last three weeks.”

On late three-pointer
“We were trying to get the ball to Obi (Enechionyia). We had a little top of the key screen, but at that point they were probably thinking that’s the first option as well. They took that away, and it just came back to Devin (Coleman). We give our guys a lot of freedom. If they give us everything they have at the defensive end, then we’re going to give them a lot of freedom on the offensive end, and he had the freedom to step up and shoot the ball. I’m very happy for all us that the ball went in the basket, especially Devin.”

On how important the win against Houston is
“It was a very important win. It gets us another late road win. It’s critical. Every one of these games now down the stretch is crucial for a lot of different reasons. But the mindset for us, we have a good lead in the first half, we don’t keep it. We had a crazy play at the end of the first half that gives them a few points. Then in the second half we go down 10 points, but we don’t quit. We don’t stop playing. We find ourselves with a terrific win on the road.”

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